Best Gardens: Turtle Creek Pump House

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Best Gardens: Turtle Creek Pump House

January 9, 2009
03:06pm
Photo by: D.A. Horchner

Once the source of drinking water for a small town near Dallas, this abandoned pumping station in Highland Park is now back in circulation. Its new incarnation, designed by landscape architects Mary Ellen Cowan of MESA and Julie Bargmann of D.I.R.T. Studio, is a postmodernist celebration of industrial architecture, a preservation of local history, and a lively combination of art space and residences. Under the impetus of the property's owner, what could have been a forlorn, derelict site has been transformed into something welcoming and inspiring. Appropriately and symbolically, the site's lifeblood is water, used like an artist's medium throughout, in ground-level misters, spillways and fountains, with its fluidity juxtaposed beside the solidity of concrete structures. The Turtle Creek Pump House is also a showcase of sustainability — a sod roof of buffalo grass, native plants, a permeable motor court of pavers and grass. Even original mechanical elements found new life, such as benches made of electrical panels and a well-head table. Beyond simple salvage, the pump house site is a renaissance and an example of ultimate recycling. For more information, call 214-871-0568 or see mesadesigngroup.com